Remarks by Amin H. Nasser at CERA week

Amin H. Nasser, Saudi Aramco President & CEO

Thank you Dan, and good morning Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is such a pleasure to be back at CERA Week after a three year wait. Of course, Covid dominated much of our attention. 

But, once again, our industry rose to the moment – keeping economies moving, businesses running, and remaining at the heart of everyday lives.

And, contrary to the predictions of many, oil and gas demand has surged back as economies recover. 

If alternative energy sources could have shouldered the burden, they would have. But ambition is still far ahead of reality.

Meanwhile, the global energy crisis has been accelerated by the tragic situation unfolding in Ukraine. 

It has exposed the limitations of current energy policies, and is a bleak reminder of the impact that geopolitics can have on fragile energy transition plans. 

I am sure that all of us here support efforts to de-escalate tension, and our hearts go out to all those suffering.

Furthermore, mixed signals have only added to the chaos. For example, as oil and gas investments are discouraged, demands are being placed on our industry to increase production. 

Indeed, this is not only a direct threat to economic prosperity, energy security, and a sure path to unaffordable energy supply. 

It compromises climate protection progress, every passing day.

Yet the complete transformation of the entire global energy system requires thousands of mega and giga transition projects, across multiple sectors. 

It has unprecedented design, engineering, and implementation challenges. It relies on many technologies that are either not mature and un-economic right now, and on others that do not yet exist.

And McKinsey Global Institute recently estimated that a net-zero world will cost the world 275 trillion dollars by 2050. Moreover, each country has its own priorities and unique situation. 

But even as events confirm these realities, the transition process is still being dominated by narrow group think – often without an understanding of the energy business, or the scale and complexity of the challenges.

In the meantime, many energy companies and energy professionals – who are solution-driven and have dealt with past transitions and large, complex energy projects – are, at best, politely ignored. 

This is not how thoughtful, effective strategies are developed.

So let me be clear today. 

All energy resources will be needed to support a successful transition, and the demonization of our industry is not helping.

There are major gaps and real challenges which only our industry can help with. That requires urgent consensus in several areas.  

We need consensus on the essential role of oil and gas with lower emissions, working side-by-side with alternatives to meet the rising global call on energy and deliver on net-zero ambitions.

We need to embrace new uses for hydrocarbons such as blue hydrogen combined with technologies like CCUS, without which net-zero is unlikely to be reached.

And let us not pretend that what works in developed countries like Norway will work in developing and underdeveloped countries.

But our industry must play its part too.

That means listening hard to legitimate concerns, including about our industry, particularly by younger people when they talk of a climate emergency.

It means talking freely about scenarios (including ones that could deliver a chance of a 1.5 degree outcome), and the role of EVs, wind, and solar in a sustainable energy future.

And it means intensifying and accelerating the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas as an urgent and strategic priority.

So today I call for a purpose-built global energy transition forum. The precise shape and form will need to be discussed.

But it has to allow open debate with all stakeholders and all viewpoints at the table.

And it has to bridge the gap between idealism and pragmatism with a practical, stable, and inclusive transition plan, without compromising our climate goals.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our industry is not perfect.

We are ready to listen, we are willing to engage, and we are eager to help deliver a truly sustainable energy future, using our industry's vast experience and skills to bridge the gaps.

Crucially, we are eager to work with every stakeholder and partner, across the energy industry and beyond, on solutions with real impact.

We just need an objective and resilient transition plan to guide our collective efforts.

Or as Winston Churchill famously said, “Give us the tools and we will finish the job.”

Thank you.